Edda Recap: The Poem of Hyndla - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Edda Recap: The Poem of Hyndla

Edda Recap: The Poem of Hyndla

Published August 16, 2019

Grayson Del Faro
Photos by
Lóa Hjálmtýsdóttir

This poem is actually has two women who talk to each other! Of course they’re talking about a dude, so it still doesn’t pass the Bechdel test, but when we’re talking about Medieval literature you take any woman you can get. Most of the poem is a boring list of ancestors, but it’s worth recapping for the sassy exchanges between these shady ladies.

Miss Piggy

So some guy named Óttarr the Dumbfuck is hoping to inherit some money or something and has to prove he is related to the person in question. He asks the goddess Freyja to prove it. So Freyja transforms him into a huge, golden pig and rides him up to the crib of her frenemy, Hyndla. Hyndla is both an all-knowing prophetess (called a völva in Icelandic) and a giantess. So, you could say she is a giant vulva.

Freyja busts in on Hyndla while’s she’s sleeping and wakes her up like, “Oh, hey giiiiirllllll, it’s so nice to seeeee youuuuu! Omg did you get your hair done recently cuz you look sooooo goooooood. Get on your wolf, sista, cuz we’re going to Valhallaaaaa!”

Hyndla is like, “Listen up, bitch. You just woke me up and I’m not going anywhere. I can see the past and present, so I obviously know that pig is actually Óttarr.” Freyja twirls her hair and says, “You must be confused from your nap! This is totally the pig I always ride and not Óttarr at all. But it’s funny you bring him up. Got any dirt on his family?”

Ice for that burn

Hyndla may low-key hate Freyja and already be on to her gag, but she must love the goss because she does not hesitate to spill the tea. She goes on and on, saying Óttarr was related to this hero and that warrior-maiden, this god and that giantess, that one time the god Loki turned into a lady-horse to get fucked by a total stud, also this king and that queen, etc. “Omg wow that’s soooo interesting!” Freyja says. “Can you give a memory potion to my pig, who is definitely Óttarr, so he can remember all this juicy dirt?”

“Fuck no, bitch! I’m done. I’m going back to sleep. Get outta my face and back to your corner where you belong, you trampy, slutty, goatwhore!”

Freyja threatens to set Hyndla on fire, but Hyndla reminds Freyja that she can see the future that they’re all gonna be burned to death in the apocalypse anyway. That’s one way to win an argument, eh, ladies?

Morals of the story: 1. Keep your friends close and your frenemies close enough to be useful. 2. Don’t expect people to be nice to you if you wake them up.

In this series, I illuminate the individual poems of the Edda—that most famous, epic masterpiece of Icelandic literary tradition—with humour, vulgarity, and modern realness. If you reading this and thinking, “What the fuck is the Edda?” you should start by reading my first recap of the Edda, chock-full of helpful context and shameless attitude. Or you can just shut up and read on.

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